Early arrival beats the odds and thrives

BONNIE: Kate Weakley and daughter Gabrielle are surrounded by other family members Joshua, seven, 10-year-old Jessica and Lachlan, four.KATE and Gordon Weakley feared the worst when Kate went into labour just 26 weeks into her pregnancy.“When I went into labour with her, we just thought, ‘That’s it, we won’t be having this baby’,” Mrs Weakley said.“We stared at the face of losing our baby.”Those fears seem far away as Mrs Weakley sits in the Bomaderry home feeding little Gabrielle, who not only survived being born three months early but has thrived, without any of the feared disabilities and impairments that so often accompany premature births.Mrs Weakley said Gabrielle had been through a raft of tests and had been given the all-clear by all of them.Annual tests were also planned at Sydney’s Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. Mrs Weakley said they were taking part “because we want to be part of the positive statistics to show other families that it can be OK”.She said 26 weeks was the “magic figure” when it came to pregnancies, with babies born at 26 weeks gestation having survival rates of between 80 and 90 per cent.“Before 24 weeks they won’t even call emergency retrieval services to take the babies to specialist care,” Mrs Weakley said.While Gabrielle was due to be born on January 18 this year, she was instead delivered on October 15 but surprisingly did not need to be ventilated and was born literally kicking and screaming.Weighing just 880 grams and fitting into doll’s clothes, Gabrielle spent the first few weeks of her life at Newcastle’s John Hunter Hospital where there were “amazing facilities”, but Mrs Weakley said she “probably didn’t hold her for about a week”.During those early weeks Gabrielle lived in a humidicrib attached to tubes and machines, including a Cpap machine used by people with sleep apnoea to help her breathe.She was also given a shot of caffeine at night to help keep her brain alert so she would remember to keep breathing.After three weeks in Newcastle there was another six weeks in RPA before two final weeks at Shoalhaven Hospital “to fatten her up before we could take her home for Christmas”, Mrs Weakley said.The youngest of four children in the family, “she’s the easiest baby we’ve had, she sleeps and smiles”, Mrs Weakley said.This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.